Junior Open Wheel Talent

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Cunningham Wins Third Freedom 100

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted May 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm Indy Lights

Cunningham Wins Third Freedom 100 at Indy
(photo: Dan Helrigel/IndyCar.com)

New Zealand native Wade Cunningham won his third Indy Lights Freedom 100 today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  He is the only driver in the history of the Indy Lights’ program to have won three races at IMS.

Cunningham qualified second for today’s race and passed pole sitter/teammate Pippa Mann on the opening lap.  He dropped to second twice during the race with American Charlie Kimball taking the point for two laps.  Cunningham retaliated though, retaking the spot. From that point on, he never looked back.

Today’s race was slightly monotonous compared to years past as it lacked some of the side-by-side, lead changes that we’ve become accustomed to.  Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe each put pressure on Cunningham but it wasn’t enough to alter the results. Pole sitter Pippa Mann was taken out early in the race on lap 3 when Jeff Simmons lost the rear of his car while making a pass on Martin Plowman.  Simmons hit the outside wall and collected Mann in the incident as she had no where to go.  Prior to the crash, Simmons set the fastest lap of the race with a 47.5608, 189.231 mph average.  Points leader J.K. Vernay had mechanical issues early in the race and was forced to pit.  He returned to the race six laps down and had impressive speed.  Vernay ran with the leaders for a few laps before race control ordered him to back off and let the leaders run.

Today’s win is a big statement for Cunningham, who has made it very clear that he wants to be in the big show, running IndyCar’s in the Indianapolis 500.  There is no question, at least in my mind, he deserves that opportunity.  His past wins in the Freedom 100 came in 2006 and 2009.  Cunningham was the 2006 Indy Lights champion.

Full results from the Freedom 100 after the jump.

Firestone Indy Lights
2010 Freedom 100 Results
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  1. Wade Cunningham
  2. Charlie Kimball
  3. James Hinchcliffe
  4. Dan Clarke
  5. Martin Plowman
  6. Philip Major
  7. Stefan Wilson
  8. Brandon Wagner
  9. Sebastian Saavedra
  10. Adrian Campos Jr.
  11. Gustavo Yacaman
  12. Rodrigo Barbosa
  13. JK Vernay
  14. Arie Luyendyk Jr.
  15. Jeff Simmons
  16. Pippa Mann

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